Sunday, January 13, 2013

Recently Read: The Jew of Malta by Kit Marlowe

Really enjoyed it - whizzed through it. This one seemed a lot less Shakespearean. In fact, I've just made a start on 'The Merchant of Venice' and although the themes are similar, the text and styles seem markedly different. Shakespeare feels a lot more flowery.

The most notable thing about the play was the portrayal of the title character, Barabas. He's portrayed as a wealth-obsessed, deceitful murderer and conforms to the negative stereotype of the untrustworthy Jew. I'm not going to condemn, condone or try to explain this as it's hard to put the play into context, but I'm guessing that most modern readers would find it a little bit uncomfortable to read. Still, it's fascinating this sense of otherness Jews have had throughout the ages and I wonder how foreign Jewish people would've seemed to the English audiences of the day.

Like all these Elizabethan plays, this one was interesting for its historical value as well as its artistry. In short, anti-Semitic, but entertaining.

No comments:

Post a Comment